Chronicle of the Struggles in Mirafiori-Red Brigades March 1975


From October 1974 to the signing of the social pact

October 2nd  1974. Fiat and the union break off negotiations. Fiat decides to put 65000 Fiat workers and 6000 Lancia workers in CI[1] starting from the following week. The Confederations[2] demands arbitration by Minister of Labour Bertoldi and declare a national strike of metal mechanical workers.

October 7th. Fiat refuses Labour Ministry arbitration and the CI is conformed. The Ministry mediation which provided for twenty four days of suspension without recourse to CI was accepted by the unions. But the value of CI for Fiat is clear. With it they want to obtain on the one hand a mobility of labour power functional to their projects of restructuring, and on the other carry out a generalized attack on the movement of struggle. Hence it can be understood from the start that CI is a tool which Fiat will use not just incidentally but consistently.

October 9th. 4 and 8 hour general strike of the metal mechanical workers. In Turin the demonstration is significant. If in the intentions of the confederations it is to be a moment of pressure for the reopening of negotiations, it ends up as a major show of force by the workers. In Miafiori, Lingotto and Lancia in Chivasso, abstention is TOTAL thanks to strong and combative pickets organized starting at four in the morning. The scabs and provocateurs who attempt to enter are punished and driven away. At Miafiori a scab named Giuseppe Noacco who attempts to break through a picket with a car is hit by a volley of stones and crashing into a post is seriously injured. Another scab Antonio Bosco in mechanics receives a concussion for attempting to enter on the second shift.

The gates of Miafiori are again in the hands of the workers. The newspapers report 31 injuries and in a press statement SIDA[3] will invoke the “intervention of the civil authorities and of the Ministry of the Interior in order to ensure public order in such situations.” Six large processions march through the streets of Turin making a major show of force. What characterizes this day of struggle is a decisive will to respond to the bosses attack, which now takes up new forms and instruments alongside the use of the traditional ones: in Fiat, warning letters, transfers and layoffs both political and for absenteeism are constantly used to attack the movement and its vanguards.

In layoffs for example, a new technique comes to be used to evade a worker response: first there is a notification of the transfer of the targeted worker from one section to another (for example from Mirafiori to SPA) after which the layoff follows two or three days later.

But the attack does not stop here, the police forces are used to assemble infamous provocations to attack and strike the autonomous and revolutionary vanguards. At the end of the demonstration in Solferino Square a vanguard leader from Fiat is arrested on spurious grounds along with the comrade accompanying him. This is one more example of boss terrorism which shows the level of the attack carried out against the revolutionary vanguard. Facing such an offensive in the context of the more general situation of the crisis of the government, the threat of early elections, attempts and threats of union splits, the strike is immediately exposed as an inadequate tool. The same union strategy of autumn which aims to open a broad negotiation on contingency and employment, provides no certainty for the working class.

October 17th: Day of the four hour general strike in industry called by the unions following negative results of a meeting with Agnelli. At Mirafiori open assemblies are organized (at Lancia in Chivasso and other factories as well) with the participation of the political parties, PCI, PSI, DC. Twenty thousand people participate in the assembly. The proving ground is overflowing with workers and students meeting in different processions from various small factories and from school. Close to the entrance on the Tazzoli course some cars of the Mirafiori station of the PS are parked with the commander Dr Riefolo in the control department. In the assembly the Turin working class expresses its opinion on the DC and its men: Donat Cattin can hardly speak over the flood of boos and explosive shouts from the comrades. However the assembly as massive as it is sees a low turnout of Mirafiori workers. Only a few of these in the workshops show up, only a few of those at home (today is a CI day) come in. At the mass level and between the vanguards of struggle there are two factors which determine this situation. One of these is a certain degree of fear produced in the less politicized strata of the class by the attack on employment. The other is the minimal credibility held by the union, its strategy and the forms of struggle which it proposes against the attack which the working class is enduring on all fronts.

In this situation of crisis for the movement, SIDA makes a forceful intervention which with its lurid brochures seeks to create further disorientation and encourage apathy. This new phase of the bosses attack also leads to notable disorientation among the vanguards who find themselves unprepared both politically and organizationally to handle the confrontation. From the start date of CI the internal struggle surges back. Among the vanguards there is a search for the objectives and forms of struggle which win the most and earn credibility for the movement.

On the territory in Turin the housing occupation and self reduction struggles develop. Struggles which evade union control and which in some cases become moments of autonomous organization for appropriation. The other side of the coin is that confrontation moves on to the territory, leaving the factory unprotected and exposed to the bosses manoeuvres.

October 24th: The first moment of internal struggle following the CI breaks out at SPA in Stura. There is a work stoppage of an hour and a half and a small internal procession of some fifty electrical maintenance workers against the push by management to implement a 3rd shift.

October 28th: The struggle at Mirafiori also shows a sign of recovery. In Mechanical shop [officina] 76 the workers employed in engine assembly for the 132 carry out a one hour stoppage over work loads, environment and work hazards.

October 30th: Four hour regional strike over the general dispute. Participation at Fiat is minimal. It becomes increasingly difficult for the union to mobilize the workers around objectives which appear very unclear to them and which like the forms of struggle proposed hold no credibility.

October 31st: In Press in shop 68 there is a restricted stoppage against transfers. This stoppage like that of Monday 28th and Thursday the 24th illustrates how the will to struggle in defence of the levels of mobility in the factory is always alive among the workers.

November 8th: Four hour general strike of industry and commerce over the general dispute. At SPA, the CdF[4] assesses the strike as unable to stop work and decides to carry it out internally; participation is greater than usual and in some units small internal processions form. At Mirafiori the strike involves an early exit from work. Moreover it is a CI day; one certainly can’t expect a strike with these characteristics to manifest significant moments of struggle.

Monday 11th: at SPA there is a department [reparto] level strike against the termination of a vanguard element for “violence” against a security guard. The councils meet and there is a consensus from all on the need to relaunch the struggle in the factory starting from next Wednesday’s strike. The majority of delegates are well aware of the absurdity of the empty strikes, scheduled at the end of shifts and on CI days.

Thursday 12th: Eight hour strike at Rivalta for the general dispute, during which hard and combative pickets are organized.

Wednesday 13th:  a day of struggle greatly anticipated by the vanguard which wants to use this day as a moment for a real relaunch of the internal struggle, seen as an initiative for the defence of the current levels of worker power which the attacks on the movement and restructuring always aim to erode and reduce. At Mirafiori the strike lasts around three hours. The percentage of participation is not high but some moments of struggle occur which tend to put the relations of force established after the implementation of CI into question. In painting the workers who don’t want to participate in the strike are driven off the line. A procession of 7800 workers leaves mechanical 1 which leads to the total blockage of the employee building: from there the procession heads to mechanical 2 where another 300 workers join the procession; during the march the provocations of the bosses and SIDA, who having anticipated this day of struggle are well prepared to organize scabbing are refused. Shop 68 Press also sees the organization of a small procession.

At SPA in Stura large internal processions are formed and sharp clashes occur with security personnel who management employs for continual anti worker provocation. Among the workers there is a will to respond to terminations, of which there have been 9 in just the first two days of the week, 8 of them for absenteeism and the other on the 11th noted above.

Meanwhile at Fiat Materferro during the two hour internal strike there is a large and combative internal procession which disrupts the whole factory, completely blocking production. It is the first internal procession since last spring.

Friday 15th: At the Miafiori foundries which are not in CI, a team of workers strikes for three hours against pollution. For an hour the whole department is united in struggle.

Monday 18th: in shop 92 of central management (mechanical), all 350 workers strike for an hour demanding the withdrawal of termination for two comrades. These were carried out last Wednesday on provocative and spurious grounds with the testimony of two bosses. A decisive victory is won with the terminations immediately changed to some days of suspension. In dept 67, after the threat of a strike management rescinds the demand for overtime made through […] for those employed in fabrication of the 131. The production of this model is now “rush” while other production is subject to CI, this line experiences a continual intensification of pace and worker exploitation.

Wednesday 20th: making a move against the internal struggle which having undergone a brief setback is now developing in a notable way, Fiat attacks every strong point of worker organization through the destruction of homogenous groups, mass transfers and direct repression against vanguards and delegates. Two episodes in shop 65 (Press) show Fiat’s terrorist will. On the first shift the workers of one line stop work for ten minutes against the presumption of a c.s [?] to make a worker perform a dangerous task; the small struggle succeeds, but the next day, upon entering the factory the workers find the line completely dismantled: the whole team is transferred to other departments. Another example: on line 41 a just elected delegate is immediately transferred.

Thursday 21st: in shop 67 (Presse) a protagonist of other stoppages in previous days, the workers of door 132 carry out a one hour stoppage against the transfer of four comrades to 131.

Friday: the struggle makes a leap. All of shop 67 carries out an eight hour strike against a warning letter for “low productivity”.  During the strike some trucks which transport finished car hoods are blocked and the line is kept under surveillance to ensure it doesn’t operate. Management responds quickly by sending ten warning letters to workers who blocked the exit of the trucks. Even on the second shift the workers don’t resume work.

There is also a struggle against repression at SPA in Stura. 120 workers in the engine test room strike for two hours during which they organize an assembly against the warning letters for “discontinuous work” received by two workers. The management of this section of Fiat defined even by the FLM as the most reactionary sector of Fiat management carries out a hard and constant attack on the movement with terminations, all of them for absenteeism ( around 300 to date) and with warning letters (around 3000). On this issue which is a matter of great concern at the mass level the C.d.F dominated by PCI lacks any initiative. But the vanguard cannot passively endure such an attack and quickly organizes a struggle in the department.

Monday, November 25th: It is in this situation of spontaneous struggle which also demonstrates the incapacity of the vanguard to organize worker force on the terrain of the struggle for power, thus passing from the defensive terrain to the terrain of attack, that the Red Brigades intervenes. Different armed units strike five representatives of “Fiat fascism” with car burnings. With such an action the BR aims to clarify the confrontation now playing out between the working class and the bosses and provide a valid signal to the vanguards.

Such a signal is understood by the vanguards and the BR having guided the action with a poster in front of all the gates of Mirafiori on Thursday after the exit from the second shift, some comrades organize to give continuity to retaliation. A little after midnight GAMBA Giovanni of workshop 81 (mechanics 2) a person well known as a “hardened provocateur” and always known as loyal to C.O ROCATTI Angelo (himself already struck in 1973 by another armed unit) is beaten up outside his home.

During the day there are some moments of struggle in Press: in shop 68 the struggle continues against disciplinary measures and the increase in the workload, those employed in work on the 131 carry out a stoppage between 8 and 10 for these reasons. In shop 67, which has been involved in struggle for the same reasons as 68 the workers decide to self determine their rhythm of work reaffirming the decision to continue with strikes in case of an intervention by timekeepers. In shop 65 a team stops work for a half hour against a scumbag team leader.

In the morning on line 131, in bodywork, work is suspended for an hour by management as retaliation for a strike which occurred yesterday in Press. At SPA there is a strike on the engine assembly line against the increase in workload.

But Agnelli is already implementing his project against the workers movement tightening the cage of unions and reformists around the working class. At the leadership meeting of the FLM held on Wednesday the 27th notice is given on the achievement of a draft agreement between Fiat and the category unions (reached after a series of informal meetings held between the two parties in Rome of which no one had been made aware) on the “comanagement of the crisis”. The unions want to test the waters before explicitly affirming the already concluded agreement.

Wednesday 27th: another four hour strike is called over the general dispute. In Mirafiori the participation rate is not very high. However there is an extensive development of the debate around the actions of the BR. The vanguards discuss the political proposal of the BR, while at the mass level a general consensus is observed, and there is mass enthusiasm in the workshops where the punished individuals work. In shop 65 of Press where one of the punished worked, c.s GRISOTTO there is much higher strike participation than usual, the workers tend to unite in procession and express their hate for the bosses.

That the armed struggle continues to exist in Fiat, finding an ever more favourable terrain upon which to develop, is also understood by the corporate hierarchy, especially the intermediate cadre, among whom creeps the fear of reprisal. In almost all the workshops the bosses are pacified and stay silent. In workshop 81 where c.r Gamba used to work, the c.r and i.c.s meet in an assembly on the 28th to assert before management their role as “technicians of production” and refuse that of “policing the workers”. The propaganda actions and reprisals have opened discontinuities and contradictions in the apparatus of control.

Saturday November 30th: the provisional agreement between Fiat and the FLM is signed. The union is now determined to make the workers approve it by any means necessary. The union leadership has accepted the role assigned to them by Agnelli, driven on the one hand by the PCI which mistakenly sees the social pact as the first step to the historic compromise, and on the other by the political and union forces of the right who welcome the imperialist order.

From the Signing of the Social Pact to March 1975

Monday December 2nd and Tuesday 3rd: the unionists present the “provisional” agreement to the worker assemblies for discussion with the precise intention of not allowing the development of a political debate. The terms of the agreement are presented in a technical vocabulary and the whole debate is focused on that terrain. Moreover the assemblies are deserted by a large number of workers who express their refusal of union policy in this way. Only a few vanguards seek to develop the political debate through their interventions and achieve minimal results. The debate where it does develop is centred by the workers around the perspective of the struggle, the general strike of December 4th and the development of the internal struggle.

When the secretaries of the FLM sign the agreement they certainly cannot say that the working class of Fiat has expressed its active consent.

Wednesday December 4th: the general strike is much anticipated by the Turin working class. The vanguards meet in front of the Mirafiori gates from four in the morning. The pickets though not very numerous are hard and combative; many workers don’t even want to go to the demonstration so they can continue the pickets. The scabs sense which way the wind is blowing and only a few appear. Only in front of gate 7 on the sidewalk across from the entrance stand fifty or so half hidden by the fog and frightened by the hostility of the comrades.

In the processions the will for struggle is tangible. The question of power is at the centre of the slogans, many are directed against SIDA, Vanni, Scalia.

Despite all this, the agreement is not discussed, the debate is not yet developed, but the day of struggle demonstrates that the working class of Mirafiori has no intention of forging a neocorporative pact with Agnelli.

In this situation there is a real need for the most conscious vanguards to politicize the confrontation as much as possible to induce the failure of the neocorporative project which Agnelli and the union leaders want to push forward against the interests of the working class.

Wednesday, December 11th: the BR takes a first step towards fulfilling this need, striking SIDA[5]. This action is clarified with a communique.

Thursday, 12th: the action of the BR is situated at the centre of the mass debate. In the movement there are two reactions both of them positive: the first at the mass level, is one of generalized consensus and enthusiasm, to illustrate that the correct target was hit and that the BR was able to fulfil a mass political need; it is enough to consider that FLM did not distribute a leaflet condemning the action and the PCI refrained from defamatory interventions. The second reaction, occurring at the vanguard level is represented by the development of the political debate on the neocorporative project and on the need to organize on the terrain of armed struggle for power to be able to attack such a project.

Fiat also takes a position in concrete terms, showing very explicitly how it articulates Agnelli’s project: the gates of Mirafiori and Rivalta are militarized from five in the morning till the end of the second shift a police officer in plainclothes is stationed at every gate, no longer the usual in the white 128 but in a Fiat 127 or A112 to blend in better.

But Fiat also begins to move on another level, demonstrating what “comanagement of the crisis” really means on the factory terrain. In bodywork massive transfers from bodywork to assembly and vice versa are initiated with an unprecedented procedure.  Also they issue 4000 orders to Press during the Christmas holidays. Fiat wants to keep up production on the “rush” lines (like 131) and carry out a major restructuring in the departments with the introduction of new machinery, movement of lines and workforce reduction during the Christmas holidays. This restructuring plan also confirms the decision to place a 131 line in place of the 128 in Rivalta.

These provisions are linked to escalating reprisals against the struggle: in the bodyshop second shift fabrication of the 131 is suspended, in response to the struggle of the 3rd circuit painting workers for increased breaktime.

Monday 16th: Aside from the 4000 orders for Press, Fiat issues others (1300 in tooling, 900 in bodywork, 1000 in mould maintenance). They also demand an increased amount of overtime over the holidays. Through bargaining on this point between sectoral councils and enterprise management the number of work orders is reduced, specifying the days on which they must work and rejecting the demands for overtime. Aside from the contingent results of the negotiation it is now a matter of fact that bargaining occurs on the terms dictated by Fiat and not the reverse.

Friday 20th: the long Christmas holiday which ends on January 13th begins.

Tuesday January 7th: Four days of discussion on unsold inventory begin at the Industrial Union. Fiat gives notice that its stock of unsold cars has increased by 30000 units and asserts its need for a return to CI (two days a week in the upcoming months); this time the CI request is also made for industrial vehicle production. All of that was predictable.

To the demand of the union for a broader negotiation over the diversification of production and a new plan for transport development, the Fiat delegation responds that the monopoly does not want to make commitments of any kind, therefore: no bus factory in Grottamarina, no diversification of production, no new organization of labour. Fiat has no intention of implementing such objectives according to the demands of the union, but in accordance with its own interests.

Confronting such positions, the FLM abandons its proposal for a “broader negotiation” and lowers itself to discussing Fiat’s proposals individually. Here is an explicit demonstration of how the union leaderships, accepting the logic of “comanagement of the crisis” are placed in a strictly subordinate relation to big capital’s restructuring projects.

Industrial union circles begin to spread rumours of a possible price increase by Fiat.

Tuesday, January 14th: Fiat threatens to suspend work at Lancia as well.

Wednesday 15th: meeting of a coordination of delegates from FIAT OM Autobianchi Lancia to discuss the results of the negotiation. This meeting displays a substantial paralysis of initiative. There is equally a strong demand from the delegates for a turn away from the vagueness of the proposed objectives and to break off negotiations if Fiat does not guarantee them; interventions which remain within the bounds of union practice but which none the less attempt to break through the passivity and ambiguity of the union leaders.

The question of the small factories which have been experiencing a brutal attack on employment for some time is also raised. The FLM gives no response to all these worker demands. No concrete proposal for struggle which can free itself from the vicious cycle of negotiation emerges from this meeting.

At the same time as this meeting the suspensions at Lancia are confirmed and SPA Stura announces 33 terminations for absenteeism along with the formation of a special office which will monitor the absences of every worker, proceeding to terminations from one workshop to the other. In workshop 76, 50% of workers remain inactive, no doubt awaiting transfer elsewhere.

Meanwhile Agnelli selects today to make his public intervention in which he explains the development prospects of the monopoly in different sectors with data and figures. He emphasizes that the 18% increase in revenue is due only to an increase in prices not sales; he concludes by reiterating a call to unions and the government to collaborate with the business community for a joint management of the crisis.

While the workers begin to make their presence felt after being outside the factory for more than 30 days. In shop 77 there is a half hour strike against a warning given by the boss SICCO to a comrade after an argument over the issue of overalls. The workers march on the managers office to demand the provision of overalls.

Thursday January 16th: discussions resume in the Industrial Union. Fiat is amenable to an agreement on CI days, but regarding the guarantee of full employment for the 350000 workers of the supplier companies, it refers everything to the Industrial Union, showing a willingness to negotiate only on the wage guarantee. This means they want to permit mass layoffs in the small and medium factories to use them as a terrorist blackmail against the employed at Fiat. The Rome Confindustria negotiations on the union dispute of Autumn also resume.

At Mirafiori an assembly team for the 131 carries out its first stoppage since the holiday, against the workload, disrupting production all along the line; the stoppage by this team continues till the 27th with an intensity of one or two per day.

Saturday, 18th: the Industrial Union concludes negotiations with another adaption of the FLM to the needs of Fiat, the agreement provides 13 days of CI for three successive months and no commitment from Fiat on employment in the supplier factories; the same goes for investments in the South and a new transport plan. The unions and the PCI hail this agreement as a major victory, further demonstrating their complete accommodation to Fiat’s neocorporative imperialist project.

Monday 20th: an agreement is reached at Lancia similar to that reached last Saturday between Fiat and FLM. The industrial general strike scheduled for next Thursday, announced by the confederations in support of the general dispute is already being prepared. It will be an important milestone for the movement which will know how to express itself on the agreements which Fiat and the union leaders impose against the working class. The political debate on the neocorporative line is progressively developing, reinforced by new events like the union-Enel agreement on electricity charges and the contestation of the forward march of the bosses restructuring process in both large and small factories.

Tuesday 21st: an agreement is reached with Confindustria on the wage guarantee and negotiations now open on contingency and pension increases. The surrender of the Confederations to the economic policy of the government is already clear (it is sufficient to see the miserable wage demands in this dispute, in the context of the devastating wage erosion ongoing).

The general dispute of Autumn is close to its end, after which the margins of mobilization offered by the union will be further reduced.

At the council meeting for assembly, bodywork and painting to discuss the Saturday 18th agreement none of the speakers express a positive assessment.

SIDA gives its support to the strike on the 23rd. For around a month SIDA has abandoned its venomous language and takes an increasingly soft position towards the FLM and its initiatives. That is doubtless due to two factors or to one of them alone: 1: after the attack from the BR in the previous month, SIDA has experienced a strong isolation from the side of the unionist and worker political forces of the left; with such a manoeuvre the yellow union seeks to regain the political space which it has lost; 2: within Fiat management the line opposed to the utilization of SIDA prevails in this moment, whose provocative activity tends to lead to conflicts which are believed unnecessary in a period characterized by union agreements favourable towards Fiat.

Thursday, January 23rd: general strike in industry; the outcome is total and unanimous throughout Italy. This day of struggle is declared by the union Confederations with great trepidation: they recall well the beating the Naples workers gave Vanni on December 4th; therefore they work to contain the mobilization of worker strength to the maximum.

In Turin the central hub of the current struggle no protests, rallies or assemblies are organized. The unionists fear of facing the justice of the Turin working class during a day of mobilization is very strong. But worker strength is equally expressed in pickets which once against set the struggle for power as an objective. At Mirafiori the pickets are strong and organized. The boundary walls between the gates are patrolled by the workers; as soon as the scabs advance to jump the wall they are immediately blocked and punished by comrades who rush to the site in cars. Three scabs, the employee Stefano Forneris and the workers Angelo Ceridono and Remo Spalla who attempt to evade the checkpoint of the pickets at gate 9 are injured.

At SPA Stura as well, the pickets are very hard and better organized than usual. Here as well scabs who attempt to break through the lines are punished; one of these, the worker Gildo Cappato is struck in the face with a bike tire by a worker carrying it to better fulfil his picket duty.

Also the management, the most reactionary in Fiat makes its move: at the picket in front of the employee building, security demands the name of a vanguard element from the group Avanguardia Comunista accused of having used violence against some employees. The comrade will be immediately fired. The move is premediated; the guards did not come by chance but selected a very conscious comrade who was inconvenient for the authorities.

January 25th: the agreement on contingency is signed with Confindustria.

January 27th: the delegate for a 131 assembly team involved in the struggle on the 16th going to the office for negotiation finds a SIDA representative already there. This is something Fiat has not dared to do before. The delegate refuses to talk if he does not immediately leave.

January 28th: at Fiat Rivalta 300 first shift and 4000 second shift workers are let go for the day in retaliation for the struggle of the polishing workers, who continue to take 15 minute breaks every hour against the management effort to reduce break time to ten minutes.

In Osa-Lingotto there are two one hour strikes. In Presse against the increase in the pace of work and in 128 against the attempt to abolish a shift, a decision which would result in massive transfers.

January 30th: in Bodywork, final assembly for the 131 strikes for one hour against the increase in the pace of work and another hour long strike happens in upholstery finishing against transfers.

In SOT (Sezione Officine Telai) the factory council calls the workers to struggle against the numerous transfers made by this section to SPA Stura and Ricambi, imposed by management without consultation with the delegates. It is worth noting that 3000 Mirafiori workers have already been transferred to SPA, where terminations since the holidays have reached around 400.

February 2nd: the newspapers publish the increases in Fiat’s price list. These increases reach an average of 7.7%. Even compact cars become ever more inaccessible to the proletariat.

February 5th: The internal struggles against Fiat’s efforts to intensify exploitation become increasingly strong and frequent. In Mirafiori bodywork a team upstream of assembly for the 131 stops causing the blockage of the entire line; Fiat seeking to avoid tensions doesn’t dare to impose “work release”.

At Rivalta all fabrication for the 128 is blocked; in previous days there were other stoppages and a procession which left the factory and went to protest in front of the employee building.

At Fiat Materferro there are stoppages for three days: today the factory is completely blocked by a procession which disrupts all the departments.

February 10th: there are another two hours of strike on the 131 line against the workloads.

At SPA-Centro the workers offer a strong combative response against the attempt by management to place a CISNAL office in the factory. The whole factory stops work and forms a procession of 1000 workers who assemble in front of the employee building, and a mass delegation enters the management offices. They are received by the son of Amerio in charge of employee relations, who makes a very explicit response: “all the unions have the right of citizenship”. However the decisive will of the workers to go all the way in their antifascist struggle can be clearly seen, the management can find no better response than to suspend the placement of the office in the factory.

February 12th: for the first time the unions organize a regional assembly of factory delegates from the “ancillary Fiat” of supplier companies. The ruthless attack waged for months against the workers of the small and medium factories with CI and massive dismissals serves Agnelli as means to encircle the Fiat workers making the growing unemployment into blackmail. But in all the targeted factories there are explosive situations of struggle which in many cases have reached the point of occupation of the factory (Vignale, Gallino, Cromodora, Moretti, Sicam, Altissimo, Camerano, Termonafta and others). The objectives of these struggles are very specific: rollback of CI and dismissals. These realities of struggle, which often escape revisionist control, become a pole of aggregation for all the vanguards of Turin, including that of Fiat, as a result of which a strong political debate develops tending to transform the vanguards of struggle into political vanguards; in these situations of struggle the political debate on the neocorporative project and on the current tasks of the vanguards finds an increasingly favourable terrain upon which to develop.

This situation is unacceptable for the unionists who defend the social pact: to reestablish control the unions attempt to move all these struggles onto a common platform for all sectors of “ancillary Fiat”. The main objective of this platform is the extension of the Fiat-FLM agreement to all ancillary sectors.

February 13th: in the bodyshop of shop 68, the workers of a 132 team stop work for an hour in protest against speedup. Employees also begin to enter the struggle: employees in the administrative service of Sud Presse are on strike the entire day against the dismissal of an employee with a temporary contract.

February 17th: the same team in workshop 68 which struck on the 13th, carried out another stoppage against intensification of work pace.

In the bodyshop, on line 131, a team goes on strike for two hours to force out a scumbag operator; this is concerning enough to management that things are immediately “smoothed over” in the department. Being forced to transfer the operator, management ensures that the matter is not publicized, for fear of inspiring other similar incidents.

February 18th: in a mockery of the union hopes to come to an agreement with Fiat on new lines of development and diversification of production Fiat management demands 15 days of CI in industrial vehicle production, namely for the factories of SPA Stura, SPA Centro and SOT Turin as well as OM in Brescia and Suzzara. A total of 18000 workers who are expected to work two days a week, starting in the last week of February and continuing to the end of April.

It becomes clear that the problem for Fiat is a restructuring of the industrial vehicle sector on the international level (as is demonstrated by the formation of Holding Europea with the German KHD and the French UNIC, along with the resulting transfer of some production processes to France), while in Italy we witness the CI demands along with a drastic increase in exploitation (in SPA Stura in some periods forced and voluntary night shift overtime reaches 80% alongside a constant increase in workload and pace). With the demand for CI and his apocalyptic declarations on the state of the sector Agnelli pursues two goals: attacking and striking the worker organizations and pushing the government to support Fiat with credit and measures for the revival of the sector.

Meanwhile, there is a stoppage at shop 68 over organic pollution, environment and work pace: 650 Bodyshop workers carry out two hours of strike on both the first and the second shift.

The struggle against increase in production continues at Fiat Matterferro; after a series of stoppages, these employed in producing the 124 truck continue 40 vehicles and not the 43 demanded by management.

February 21st: beginning of another holiday which ends on March 3rd. During these days the 131 “push”, of course, continues at full speed.

February 25th: there is another stoppage of an hour and a half by workers servicing the 131 in workshop 68 against the production increases and two fines for “wilful slowness”. This workshop has been in Bodyshop for only a year and is the one most targeted by internal restructuring; management responds to the stoppages which occur continually for a certain period of time with transfers of vanguard elements.

In three administrative offices for bodywork employees strike for two hours against layoffs of temporary contract employees. Meanwhile Fiat demands a return to 40 hours for the 126 and a four week delay for the 131.

At the national meeting of the FLM a decision is made for a strike in Fiat’s industrial vehicle group on March 4th; for the FLM this is merely a demonstration strike.

March 3rd: work resumes after the holiday as does struggle. At SPA two teams in workshop two go on strike for an hour against dangerous working conditions and speed up. At Mirafiori there is an hour long stoppage in the electronics production section. Management also makes moves in restructuring: in Mechanical 40 workers of the 1st and 2nd shift changes are to engine work on the 127, 131 and 132 USA.

March 4th: Strikes in the industrial vehicle and “ancillary auto” sectors in conjunction with the national transit strike. The unions want it to be a strong moment of pressure for a new public transit policy, but the workers of SPA Stura make it a great highpoint of struggle. During the three hours of internal strike two huge processions are formed in mechanical and bodywork, which after having blocked all lines and individual fabrications, unite and march into the employee offices. It is a decisive response to Fiat’s demand for CI and not a call for a new public transport plan.

In SPA Centro the strike achieves a participation rate of only 30%. This is the consequence of the huge number of transfers carried out by management. The struggle continues at Mirafiori as well: demanding exemption from night shift work, 150 workers who participate in the 150 hours of study organize a procession which traverses the departments with banners and posters reciting slogans. The procession exits and moves towards the employee building to “negotiate” with management; here at door 16 the workers begin to tear down the gate which was preventatively closed by security. At this point to prevent the situation from really going south, GATTI the vice director of personnel orders security to open the gate and allow the procession (which dissolves) to enter.

SIDA which has adhered to the strike called by the FLM organizes a national assembly with four hundred delegates today to discuss “the prospects for federation with the objective of the unity of the democratic and independent movements.”. Next day La Stampa will exult over the results of the meeting while an investigation shows it to be a terrible failure with minimal participation.

The Industrial Union reopens negotiation. Fiat demands the return to 40 hours for the 126 and a delay of damages for the workers of the 131 for a fourth week as well as 15 days of CI for the two month period March-April in the industrial vehicle sector. The FLM with its now usual custom proposes a “global” negotiation but than goes on to bargain over different points individually.

Some Brief Considerations

In these pages of chronology one can see that the working class of Fiat has not accepted and internalized the neo corporative line of the social pact, and its class identity is always alive. The constant autonomous struggles which occur everyday in all departments against the different aspects of restructuring, continually put this project in crisis, because they break the social peace and keep the confrontation on the class terrain.

The confrontation cannot remain closed off on the decisive terrain of the state and this is now the first need of the Mirafiori vanguard. But this vanguard experiences the contradiction of not knowing how to produce a strategy and a tactics capable of handling such a terrain of struggle. The loss of credibility for the instruments used up to now, drives the party of Mirafiori to the search for a comprehensive political strategy; but the ideological fragmentation and heterogeneity of the vanguards, obstructs the process of assertion of a specific strategy. Thus the party of Mirafiori remains a force with neither strategy nor tactics, but the good thing is that its whole attention is turned towards the political terrain.

MARCH 1975

From lotta armata per il comunismo


Provisional translation and notes by Joshua Depaolis





[1]Casa integrazione- State compensation program for unemployment or underemployment.

[2] Federation of the CGIL, CISL and UIL launched in July 1972. Its subdivision for metal-mechanical workers is the FLM.

[3] Fiat company or “yellow” union.

[4] Consigli di fabbrica-enterprise level worker’s representative bodies organized within the confederal unions.

[5] Raids on two SIDA offices in Mirafiori and Rivalta and brief detentions of personnel.